Posted by Rebecca Atkinson.
Reviewed on 25th September 2011.
Live at The Library on Friday, 23rd September 2011
Tonight's 360 Club opens with Seth Elton whose solo acoustic musings come from a world of love, loss and splendour. His stage persona is warm and he doesn't seem affected by those gathered skirting around the edge of the room as far away from him as possible. There's a lovely tone to his voice with some impressively high notes in his range complemented by enjoyable guitar work which works especially well at the end of the tracks. His song writing style owes a lot to classic artists like Dylan but vocally Elton's performance is somewhere between Thom Yorke and Brand New's more stripped down material. It's a strong start from a promising songwriter.
The Asa Hawks are on excellent form this evening; rousing and wistful in equal measure. Front woman Katie Raine is a sublime singer with a soulful velvety quality to her voice which is note perfect despite illness. The band's penchant for raconteurial Americana shines through but without ever sounding like mere imitation and the male/female vocals allow them to switch tempo and force with ease. It is also nice to see a banjo actually being used appropriately adding a delicacy to their sound which complements the electric and acoustic guitar work skilfully. It's a professional, well executed and engaging performance with some interesting rock inspired songs which make them a more interesting prospect than a lot of the country influenced bands on the circuit.
Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles take to the stage next fresh from a triumphant performance at Bramham Park this summer leading them to being named Alan Raw's "band of Leeds Festival". They are in truth more of an ensemble than a band embracing a multitude of instruments including saxophone, trombone and trumpet alongside the more traditional drums, keys and guitar. This allows Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles to write songs on a huge scale and are pleasingly they are not afraid of a little pomp. The orchestration is occasionally a little cluttered but works beautifully when the flautist is in harmony with the guitarist creating a lilting sound which contrasts impeccably with the strong male vocal. Indeed there are some real gems in their set (the generous smattering of woodblock on 'Follow' makes that a particular favourite) and it is impossible to deny the fun which can be derived from their overblown orchestral pop.
When attending unsigned band nights you come to expect frivolous bands, bands discovering their sound, bands imitating others and very rarely bands already pushing boundaries and challenging you to think about not just music but the way in which music speaks to everything in the world around us. People In Jars are the latter. They are aptly named with their moniker fittingly evoking their suffocatingly intense sound, safe to say there is nothing frivolous here. This is music which is overtly politically motivated and hugely morbid mixing prog and dubstep with room shaking electronics and sublime breakdowns. Several of the songs open with sinister, pensive whispered vocals on themes as cheery as 'Sudden Death' (a song which comes highly recommended) before suddenly breaking into face-melting instrumentation. People In Jars don't look like a band and all of the elements of their sound shouldn't work together but they do in a fascinatingly innovative manner and as their set draws to a fittingly abrupt conclusion you are left feeling both harrowed and deeply impressed. Seeing People In Jars live is an undoubtedly incredible experience but not one you are likely to want to repeat anytime soon.